“What should it matter if one feels truly alive while composing while another does so through nuclear physics or conducting market research or cooking? If the goal is to get the arts to be taken seriously in broader policy discussions, it seems to me that the creativity connection is crucial. And not just in the sense of drawing the line between the arts and creativity: I also mean advocating for supporting creativity itself, with the understanding that creativity includes, but is not limited to, the arts. This is really the premise for the creative economy movement worldwide. It seeks to take nonprofit arts organizations out of their shell as a distinct entity and instead showcase them in full collaboration and interaction with an entire extended family of related pursuits. It attempts to draw the connection between creative capacity and the ongoing advancement of the human race. To me, that argument is a winner.”

July 28, 2009

“Folks, there is no such thing as free markets in modern society. If markets were truly free, slavery would still be a booming industry in this country, as it was in the 1600s. If markets were truly free, we’d have paid bounty hunters roaming our cities, putting on hits for anyone who wanted to get rid of an inconvenient rival or former spouse. If markets were truly free, crime in poor areas would spiral out of control as public police departments were replaced by private security agencies who would charge more to serve high-crime areas because of higher costs. Heat? Electricity? Firefighting? Forget it, those would be private too. Can’t pay? Too bad.”

January 21, 2008

“This is the real threat to sustainability in the arts of which I speak. The Internet, by lowering the costs of distribution to negligible levels, has in fact democratized many aspects of participation in the arts as well as numerous other activities. But in opening up the gates to untold amateurs and semi-pros who had previously been shut out from public attention or supplemental income streams, it has simultaneously fostered an atmosphere of intense competition that makes it nearly impossible to succeed as a full-time professional.”

June 15, 2009

“Wouldn’t it be simpler if all performers could have a reasonable expectation of getting paid by virtue of being booked at a venue that programmed noncommercial work? So that the only thing the ensemble would have to worry about is proving their artistic worth and relevance to the curator, rather than whether they can afford to go deeper into debt in hopes of greater exposure? For this to happen, arts funders would need to focus their resources on lowering the cost of cultural production and distribution for everybody, rather than trying to pick and choose who gets the spoils. [….]By funding artistic systems instead of artistic producers, funders can distribute those resources to a much broader network of informed decision-makers, each of whom will make their own judgments about the artistic merit of individual players on the scene. Their aggregated decisions, awarding this date to that band and that residency to this performer and so on, collectively represent the artistic marketplace of which I speak: a marketplace in which the currency of trade is respect from one’s peers rather than the ability to draw a big-spending crowd.”

March 14, 2009

“The best part of giving more money to smaller organizations is that it actually reduces the risk for the funding agency by diversifying its portfolio. Think about it like this: if you were investing stock in each of these companies instead of grant dollars, your broker would call you crazy to divide a million dollars among four of them rather than forty, or better yet four hundred. Sure, some of them will fail, but think about the missed opportunities with the ones that succeed. To only fund the largest organizations would be akin to confining one’s endowment investments to the blue chips on the NYSE while completely ignoring emerging markets.”

November 21, 2007

“Does your new employee have lots of ideas about how to improve the way things work around here? Is he eager, maybe a little too eager, to share them with you? Does that kind of piss you off, and make you think it would be better if he just shut up and did his job? Does it make you want to shoot him down, just a little bit? Don’t give in to the temptation! This is a natural reaction whenever anyone who hasn’t ‘paid their dues’ presumes to judge the hard work that you and your colleagues have put in. But though it may be natural, it’s not productive. What your new employee thinks about organization or departmental practices is valuable information. His perspective as a quasi-outsider and, perhaps, a member of a generation your programs are trying to reach, is difficult for you to replicate. If his opinions bother you, rather than rejecting them outright, see if you can corroborate them from other sources. He may be telling you something you need to hear.”

April 12, 2009

“In a world of six-hour news cycles, the idea that the average person (or even a highly-educated person) would somehow ‘realize the theater is important’ because a heretofore unknown organization gave one person a nice sack of cash is absurd. People ‘realize the theater is important’ because they have transformative experiences attending theater events or, more probably, because they participate in theater at a young age. Giving $200,000 to Tony Kushner accomplishes neither of these things.”

October 4, 2008

“For me, the role of the arts in a creative society is to define a space in our lives in which the impossible becomes possible. The arts are about celebrating and honoring creativity and innovation for their own sake, not as a means to an end such as financial gain. They need support precisely because a constraint of income inevitably constrains imagination, and the whole point of the arts is to see what happens when imagination runs wild.”

October 31, 2007

  • Pingback: createquity in quotes « Culturebot()

  • will

    Very nice! I especially liked the very first quote. But all these confirm to me why I enjoy reading this blog. Keep it up, Ian!